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Mar 04, 2010 at 01:09pm IST

Now extra small condoms for 12-yr-olds

London: Switzerland has probably become the first country in the world to sell extra small condoms for boys as young as 12 years, though the official age of consent in the land-locked nation is 16.

Called 'Hotshot', the condoms -- with a diameter of 4.5 cm as compared to a standard cap's 5.2 cm -- have been produced after a Swiss government research revealed that 12 to 14-year-olds didn't use sufficient protection when having sex.

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The study, conducted on behalf of Federal Commission for Children and Youth, interviewed 1480 people aged 10 to 20. It showed more 12 to 14-year-olds were having sex as compared with the 1990s, The Daily Telegraph reported.

SAFE SEX: Young boys have more of a tendency not to protect themselves.

"The result that shocked us concerned young boys who display apparently risky behaviour. They have more of a tendency not to protect themselves. They do not have a very developed sexual knowledge.

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"They do not understand the consequences of what they are doing and leave the young girls to take care of the consequences. The results of this study suggest that early prevention makes sense," Nancy Bodmer, who headed the Swiss research at Basel University, said.

The Hotshot condoms, which cost Swiss Franc 7.60 for a packet of six, have been created by Lamprecht AG, a leading condom manufacturer in Switzerland.

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The company has said that Britain would be "top priority" if they expanded abroad, considering that it has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.

"At the moment we are only producing the Hotshot in Switzerland. But the UK is certainly a very attractive market since there is a very high rate of underage conception. The UK would definitely be top priority if we marketed abroad," Nysse Norballe, a spokesman for the company, said.

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